|The Blewbury Players web site is at blewburyplayers.co.uk. Facebook. Twitter.|
Romeo and Juliet, 15th to 18th July 2020
“Two households, both alike in dignity In fair Verona, where we lay our scene…” Our open-air production.
Orchard Dene. Click here for a map.
Tickets may be purchased from our web site, from Savages on the London Road (A417) Blewbury, Monday to Friday 09:00 to 18:00 and from 10:00 to 12:00 on Saturday mornings, and from Cornerstone in Didcot – 01235 515144 (they accept card payments).
Review of The Crucible
17th to 20th July 2019
Review from the Newbury Weekly News.
A play for today
Blewbury Players revisit their 1979 production
Blewbury Players: The Crucible, at Orchard Dene Garden Theatre, Blewbury, from Wednesday, July 17, to Saturday, July 20
As director Sebastian Palka says in his note in the programme. The Crucible by Arthur Miller might not be the first play you might think of watching on a balmy summer evening in the beautiful setting of the Orchard Dene Garden Theatre in Blewbury. But, as the sun goes down, the outdoor amphitheatre provides Miller's tale of witchcraft and devilry with a beguiling backdrop against which The Blewbury Players brilliantly "strut and fret their hour out on the stage", to quote another famous playwright.
The stage is worth a mention in itself, being a cleverly-constructed series of asymmetrical tiers, based on the set of the Players’ 1979 production of the play. Its designer Peter Ritson was a pupil of the art teacher at St Birinus School, Didcot, Roy East who created the original, and it happily moves the imagination of the audience from farmhouse to court house to prison house. The story darkens as night falls, with menacing sound effects heralding dark deeds to come and hangman's nooses are illuminated in the trees behind the stage to let everyone know that, if there was ever any doubt, there is going to be no happy ending here.
The Crucible is a part-fictionalised dramatisation of the notorious Salem witch trials held in 1692/3 in colonial Massachusetts, in which more than 200 people were accused and 19 were found guilty and executed (14 women and five men). Arthur Miller wrote it in 1953, when the US government's paranoia over communism was at its height, as a metaphor for the way in which senator George McCarthy accused people in various institutions such as the film industry and the Government of being communist infiltrators and Soviet spies.
In The Crucible, the accusations of witchcraft are led by one Abigail Williams, convincingly played here by Georgia Brennan-Scott, who has a grudge against her former employers and she leads a group of hysterical young girls, wittingly and unwittingly aided by a series of weak, gullible and intolerant clergy and officials, to accuse various villagers of witchcraft. All the members of the cast put in a great performance, but I think special mention should be made of Alex Watts who, as Abigail's erstwhile lover and employer John Proctor, gave a particularly heart-rending account of his life-and-death struggle with his conscience.
Set in a village where many of the houses must have been contemporaneous with the events in Salem, if not older, you can see why The Blewbury Players should want to reprise Miller's iconic play again today, seemingly another era of intolerance, intransigence and the deliberate lying of those in authority on both sides of the political divide. And of the pond.
Most certainly a play for today, polished by some very proficient Players.
The Crucible, 17th to 20th July 2019
Lark Rise, 18th to 21st July 2018
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, 28th November to 2nd December 2017
Great Expectations, 19th to 22nd July 2017
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 20th to 23rd July 2016
The Taming of the Shrew, 15th to 18th July 2015
Jack and the Beanstalk, 28th to 31st January 2015
Cider With Rosie, 16th to 19th July 2014
Tom's Midnight Garden, 24th to 27th July 2013
She Stoops to Conquer, 18th to 21st July 2012
Peter Pan, 20th to 23rd July 2011
A Servant to Two Masters, 21st to 24th July 2010
Twelfth Night, 14th to 18th July 2009
Noyes Fludde, 22nd to 25th April 2009
Chaucer – The Canterbury Tales, 15th to 19th July 2008
BBC3 – Blewbury Broadcasting Corporation Revue, 30th November to 1st December 2007
La Boheme, 19th August 2007
The Winter’s Tale, 17th to 21st July 2007
Pablo and Me, 21st April 2007, at Blewbury School
Cosi fan Tutte, 20th August 2006
Marriage à la Mode, 18th to 22nd July 2006
The Oxford Waits, 24th March 2006
BBC2, 25th to 26th November 2005
La Cenerentola, 21st August 2005
David Copperfield, 19th to 23rd July 2005
And now for something completely different... An Evening with John Howard Davies, 7th May 2005
Miss Elizabeth Bennet, 14th to 17th July 2004
As You Like It, 16th to 19th July 2003
Alice through the Looking Glass, 17th to 20th July 2002
Murder in the Cathedral, 6th to 9th March 2002
Dancing at Lughnasa, 18th to 21st July 2001. See the review in the archive.
A Midsummer Night's Dream, 19th 20 22nd July 2000. See the review in the archive.